Jul 7, 2022 - News

Air travel surges through holiday weekend

A TSA checkpoint at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Courtesy: Dan Herron/ABIA

Friday marked the ninth-busiest day ever recorded at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, a sign that Austinites — like the rest of the country — are itching to travel and finally feel safe enough to do so.

The big picture: Ahead of the Fourth of July weekend, airport officials urged passengers to arrive early and warned of flight delays and cancellations because of pilot shortages.

  • The airport has struggled with fuel and staffing shortages as demand for air travel rises and Austin's population booms.

By the numbers: More than 33,000 Austin passengers were screened through TSA on Friday to kick off the holiday weekend, and a total of 118,598 passengers were screened from Friday to Monday, according to airport officials.

  • Nineteen flights were canceled throughout the weekend, but overall, the airport "was prepared for Fourth of July travel volumes," a spokesperson told Axios.
  • Airport officials do not yet have data on the number of flight delays over the weekend.
  • There were 1,083 total scheduled flights between Friday and Monday.

Zoom out: Across the country, the air travel system has been struggling with staffing shortages and other issues, making the past few days a big test for airlines, airports and the Federal Aviation Administration, writes Axios' Alex Fitzpatrick.

The backstory: Some airlines took extraordinary preemptive measures to manage demand.

  • Delta issued an unusual waiver that made it easier for people to rebook their July 4 travel to less busy days.
  • American struggled with a system error that led to pilot and crew staffing shortages for thousands of planned July flights, though the airline says it fixed the problem with minimal schedule disruption.

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